Following the release of a report that flagged ‘mass promotion’ in basic education schools, Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement effective intervention programs to help struggling learners catch up.
In its State of Education Report, advocacy group Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) flagged how mass promotion in schools leads to a lack of mastery in fundamental skills. The report, based on consultations with more than 300 stakeholders including teachers and school leaders, pointed to the flawed connections between student outcomes, performance-based bonus awarded to teachers, and schools’ ranking in regions.
The report pointed out how participants misunderstood the “No Child Left Behind” concept, which led to teachers promoting students regardless of their mastery of competencies. Those who participated in the consultations also lamented how they are being held responsible for learners’ failures and the consequences of retaining or failing underperforming learners.
According to Gatchalian, the persistence of a culture of mass promotion, amid the lack of an official policy that promotes it, will have devastating consequences to learners and to national development. He pointed to the need for a thorough assessment of learners, which should serve as the basis for providing remediations and other interventions.
“Hindi na natin dapat ipagpatuloy ang kultura na para lang makatapos ang mga mag-aaral ay kailangan na silang ipasa, pero hindi naman sila natututo. Imbes na makatulong, magdudulot ito ng pinsala sa kanila at sa ating bansa. Kailangan nating tutukan kung paano matutulungan ang ating mga guro at mag-aaral upang matiyak na walang kabataan ang mapag-iiwanan,” said Gatchalian.
The senator further stressed the need to assess and help students considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The careful determination and assessment of learners are among the premises of the ARAL Program Act (Senate Bill No. 1604), Gatchalian’s proposed measure for learning recovery to address learning loss. The proposed measure mandates the DepEd to conduct an assessment before the start of the ARAL Program to identify the learners who need intervention.
Gatchalian also assured that the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II) will look at how to reverse the culture of mass promotion and how to improve learner performance.